Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is Quick to Drag


Paramount Pictures

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is an accomplishment for video games, but not so much for film.

Released in theaters on April 8th, 2022, Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is an improvement from the previous installment with plenty of Easter eggs and references for fans. While the first film established the world and characters, the sequel was able to incorporate more elements from the Sonic franchise. However, its faithfulness to the games is overshadowed by its unremarkable storytelling. 

Ben Schwartz’s portrayal of the titular blue hedgehog is charming. Sonic is young, naïve, and determined to be a hero, albeit initially lacking altruism. His inability to take responsibility for his actions and other people proves challenging when younger sidekick Tails (Colleen O’Shaughnessy) joins his side. Idris Elba joins the cast as strong, sparsely-spoken Knuckles the Echidna, antagonizing Sonic due to their shared childhood history. The film focuses on Sonic and Tails tracking down the Chaos Emeralds, taken directly from the games. Additionally, a large labyrinth chase sequence comes straight from the first Sonic game’s infamous Labyrinth Zone. The sequel pulls out all the stops to make fans happy, building upon the first film’s expository groundwork. Sonic 2 is filled with lore and references to memes from the Sonic fandom, including “Sanic.” Unfortunately, focusing on fans did not save this movie from mediocrity.

Spicing up the largely bland and awkward script is Jim Carrey’s Dr. Robotnik. Reprising his role, Carrey steals the show, twirling his mustache and slinging one-liners galore. He may have taken it too far, though: he references Donald Trump’s Charlottesville response, claiming “there are good people on both sides” to justify Robotnik’s evil deeds. Carrey’s zaniness hasn’t changed since the 90s. The overall script contains immature jokes and outdated references such as when Sonic calls Knuckles the “Winter Soldier.” Toilet humor is also present. Moments that could be poignant and funny are instead trite with the film’s lackluster script.

The plot zips around settings and scenes faster than, well, Sonic: at one moment, Sonic learns about his mysterious past, and at another, a bridezilla tries running over her fiancé with a golf cart. The movie can’t make up its mind about how many subplots it wants to include, making for a convoluted, exhausting watch.Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is proof that video game movies currently have to choose between being loyal to the source material or being good movies. Perhaps future video game movies, like the upcoming Mario movie, will get it right. Sonic 2 is most worth watching with fans who know the Sonic franchise well and jump at every opportunity to point out references. It captures Sonic’s essence, making it a must-watch for fans. Otherwise, skip it and stream something you enjoy instead.